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Time to Celebrate: The McKim Reopens
November 5, 2010

Finishing Touches
October 21, 2010

Reinstallation in Mr. Morgan's Study
October 14, 2010

Building Work Concludes, Reinstallation of McKim Library Begins
September 20, 2010

Mounting Ancient Near Eastern Seals and Tablets
August 10, 2010

Preparing the Morgan's Treasures for Exhibition
July 22, 2010

Selecting Highlights from the Collection
July 7, 2010

A Visit to the Gilded Age
June 25, 2010

June 11, 2010

Preparing to Close
May 24, 2010

About the Restoration

McKim Building Restoration | Updates

Photo of Jennifer Tonkovich Follow Jennifer Tonkovich, Curator of Drawings and Prints, as she provides behind-the-scenes updates for the restoration of the Morgan's 1906 McKim building. Learn more about the history of the McKim, which houses Mr. Morgan's library and study, as well as details of the restoration. We will also post photos so that you can witness the transformation as it takes place.

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June 11, 2010

Packing and Storing
Preparing the McKim building for restoration requires extensive work. Space must be found in the Morgan's vault for storage of many of the smaller objects and paintings, while transport of larger items and furniture to offsite storage is arranged. Each object has to be carefully removed, packed, and stored. Conservators de-install the Gutenberg bible from its case in the East Room while technicians measure art objects and furniture so they can construct custom-built protection.

The Registrar's office coordinates the packing and removal of material and the protection of some artwork left in situ, such as the sixteenth-century relief sculptures from the della Robbia workshop that decorate the walls of the McKim. The ones in the current entrance to the building were installed by Pierpont Morgan's son, J. P. Morgan, Jr., or Jack, who had them returned from storage at the Metropolitan Museum and set into the walls using cement.

Packing Art in the Era of J. P. Morgan
Morgan himself was no stranger to packing and shipping art collections. In 1909, the United States lifted the heavy 20 percent import duty on works of art. Morgan took this opportunity to pack and ship his vast collection of art that was stored in England to America. The packing and shipping of approximately 351 cases went on for an entire year, beginning in February 1912. One shipment, fortunately not ready in time, missed its transatlantic voyage on one of Morgan's favored White Star Line ships, the Titanic.

Furniture Conservation
While many of the objects in the McKim building date from the Renaissance, the beautifully carved furniture dates from the first decade of the twentieth century. Morgan commissioned them for his library, and their craftsmanship is of the highest quality, which makes the furniture fit seamlessly into an interior finished by expert artisans. The settee, chairs, desk, desk chair, and end table in the study were custom-made in 1906 by Cowtan & Sons of London. The velvet-covered settee and chairs are in need of repair and will be sent to the upholsterer.

Mellon Conservator Patricia Reyes, who has cared for the Morgan's collections since 1964, is overjoyed at the conservation opportunities presented by the project: "In my nearly fifty years at the Morgan, we've never done a full refurbishment of the McKim. I've been mending the stitching on the sofa and chairs in Morgan's study for years, so it is a dream to have them reupholstered!"

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.